Biden Announces New Air Defense Support for Ukraine at NATO Summit

Biden Announces New Air Defense Support for Ukraine at NATO Summit

President Joe Biden unveiled plans to bolster Ukraine’s air defenses in a speech at the NATO summit on Tuesday, offering significant support as the country continues to defend against Russia’s invasion. The United States, Germany, and Romania will each supply a Patriot missile battery, while the Netherlands will collaborate with other nations to provide an additional battery. Italy will also contribute a SAMP-T long-range air defense system.

The joint statement from these countries emphasized that the air-defense systems “will help to protect Ukrainian cities, civilians, and soldiers,” and coordination with the Ukrainian government will ensure these systems are quickly operational.

Biden assured that the U.S. will prioritize Ukraine in the export of critical air defense interceptors, saying, “They will get this assistance before anyone else gets it.”

Additionally, the U.S. and other nations are providing Ukraine with various short- and medium-range systems, including NASAMS, HAWKs, IRIS T-SLM, IRIS T-SLS, and Gepard systems. Countries like Canada, Norway, Spain, and the UK, along with other supporters, will supply the necessary interceptor missiles.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky expressed his determination to secure more decisive support from the U.S. and Europe, including additional air defense systems, F-16 fighter jets, and further security guarantees.

Biden’s announcement came shortly after Russian strikes across Ukraine resulted in at least 22 deaths and 68 injuries, highlighting the urgent need for enhanced air defenses.

While the U.S. has been a steadfast ally to Ukraine since Russia’s invasion in 2022, the continuity of this support could be uncertain. Former President Donald Trump has indicated he would pressure Ukraine into a peace deal involving territorial concessions if re-elected, raising questions about future U.S. policy.

Support for Ukraine was also a key topic at the recent G7 summit in Italy, where Biden and Zelensky signed a 10-year agreement to continue training Ukraine’s armed forces, enhance cooperation in weapons production, maintain military assistance, and increase intelligence sharing.

Speaking from the historic Mellon Auditorium, Biden highlighted NATO’s resilience and unity in the face of Russian aggression, asserting, “Today, NATO is stronger than it has ever been in its history.” He concluded by awarding NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Despite the high stakes, Biden’s speech was largely successful, though he briefly stumbled by reading stage instructions aloud. This follows a poorly received debate performance that has led some within his party to question his fitness for another term. Biden will have more opportunities to demonstrate his capabilities, including a solo press conference on Thursday.

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